Port Eliot

Robert was invited to Port Eliot to speak about his book – it was his first time ever to a festival;  Port Eliot is not your typical music festival – its set in beautiful grounds around an old Manor House and church and river;  it started in the 90’s as primarily a literary festival, but expanded to become a great all round family outing with music, arts, crafts as well as the books.  sadly it seems that this will be the last one for the foreseeable future due to financial feasibility (this was one of the reasons given)…..  its a lovely gentle introduction to festivals for those who hate crowds and queues, as this one seems very calm, great food and drinking spots and all in all actually relaxing.  fingers crossed for more in the future!  this was actually my second time to Port Eliot and fortunately it didnt rain – the first time it poured non stop and was a mud bath and not a great introduction to festivals…..

to make it worth the long journey down to Cornwall, we decided to visit our old friends Jon and Kim, who now live in Padstow for a few days;  we caught the Great Western train from Paddington and although we had managed to get a great deal on a first advanced ticket, we wished we had reserved the pullman dining car.  it looked so Agatha Christie with table cloths – being served a 3 course meal is definitely a stylish way to pass the 4 hour train journey.  fortunately we missed the heatwave in london to arrive to a comfortable 21C.  we did a day trip to Fowey, ate delicious tapas lunch at Pintxo, picked up great sourdough bread and cake from Quay bakery and popped into any old lights, which has a great selection of vintage style lights. Fowey has lovely meandering streets with a lovely view down to the harbour and is where the renowned author Daphne du Maurier resided – Rebecca is one of my favourite books and films.

Padstow is renowned for Rick Stein, who seems to have taken over the whole town with various eateries, delis and gift shop, but Jon booked well in advance lunch at Paul Ainsworth’s restaurant.  its Michelin star, but at lunchtime there is a set 2 or 3 course lunch menu for each season.  it is very reasonable, beautifully presented and delicious – without being too rich and heavy.  I rarely eat in such restaurants – I much prefer home cooked style food, but its nice for a treat now and again.  it appears that you have to book several months in advance to get a table in July!

another day trip out worth doing is to see the  japanese gardens at st mawgan – a beautiful bit of escapism in the cornish countryside – filled with zen gardens, azaleas, bamboo and bonsai trees .  whilst you are in st mawgan go and see the monastery there, it dates back from the 6C;  not sure if you can go in, but take a walk around it.  the village of st mawgan is very pretty and there is also a good pub with garden to sit in.

fowey

what to do if its raining in cornwall – visiting the numerous port towns seems the best thing to do, so off we drove to Fowey ; the author Daphne de Maurier lived there most of her life writing all her famous novels –  it is so charming strolling through the narrow lanes, passing all the sweet gift shops.  Its still relatively unspoilt by the usual ‘fish and chips’ of some seaside towns;  we stopped at the lifebuoy cafe  for a spot of tea and cake, with its beautiful collection of vintage tableware and accesories, you really did feel on the set of an enid blyton story. the Dwelling House  also looked  perfect for afternoon tea,  in the georgiann  rooms lined with porcelain tea cups and white linen tablecloths – this feels as though you are transported back to the 1920′s.  Good recommended places to have lunch are the old quay house hotel , with its lovely terrace or the restaurant  food for thought situated right on the front.   There were a couple of lovely shops selling vintage tablecloths, my favourite being Michele Evans antiques  and what every cute village needs – a sweet shop, with its jars and homemade fudge.  You just need to stroll around, taking in the breathtaking view;  be warned that its narrow steep streets, so put your walking shoes on. apparently Fowey Hall is a great place to stay and is child friendly; the Fowey Hotel is the traditional old style hotel. another interesting place to stay is in Polruan, in an old boat house – Polmarine B and B  A great time to come to Fowey is during the Daphne du Maurier festival in May.

Take a walk down to Menabilly beach, where there is a cottage that you can rent – the beach house and the manor house that apparently are the inspirational locations for the story of Rebecca.

 

fowey

whenever i am in cornwall, i  try to make a point of visiting fowey – i find it a lovely day out with spectacular views of the estuary;  coincidentally my lovely friend Tanya was also in cornwall with her son dylan, so we spent our last day with lunch in fowey  and then go off to the beach.    the author Daphne de Maurier lived there most of her life writing all her famous novels –  it is so charming strolling through the narrow lanes, passing  the independent gift shops.  Its still relatively unspoilt and only the splash of the usual ‘fish and chips and pasties ‘ that spoil  some of the seaside towns; the  lifebuoy cafe ,  with its lovely vintage interior is a cute place for tea and cakes and the Dwelling House – with its vintage tea cups and georgian interior is a lovely place to stop and have a sandwich – if you can get in the garden on a sunny day, all the better.  a new place to grab an ice cream is lazy jacks kitchen  and just next door is the webb street company selling lovely homewares.  also check out the neighbouring bread shop, quay bakery, that produces the local fare of saffron buns, scones and artisan bread.

it also happened to be cornwall open studios week, which is when all the artists open up their studios.  we stumbled upon the summerhouse in the grounds of the old school studio – an amazing living/work studio, but they had this sweet place to rent.

other good recommended places to have lunch are the old quay house hotel , with its lovely terrace or the restaurant  food for thought situated right on the front.   There were a couple of lovely shops selling vintage silk and victorian tablecloths and what every cute village needs – a sweet shop, with its jars and homemade fudge.  You just need to stroll around, taking in the breathtaking view;  be warned that its narrow steep streets, so put your walking shoes on. apparently Fowey Hall is a great place to stay and is child friendly; the Fowey Hotel is the traditional old style hotel. another interesting place to stay is in Polruan, in an old boat house – Polmarine B and B  A great time to come to Fowey is during the Daphne du Maurier festival in May, which we unfortunately had just missed.

Take a walk down to Menabilly beach, where there is a cottage that you can rent – the beach house and the manor house that apparently are the inspirational locations for the story of Rebecca and not far away, polkerris beach is a sheltered cove with sam’s restaurant for pizza – perfect for young children.

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